Wednesday, May 26, 2010

MARVIN FOSTER (1961-2010), R.I.P.

Marvin Foster, one of the great competitive surfers of the 1980's, ended his life at the relatively young age of 49.

MARVIN G.K. FOSTER / 1961-2010

"Surfer remembered as 'fearless pioneer'," By Rosemarie Bernardo, Star-Bulletin, May 21, 2010

Legendary big-wave surfer Marvin G. K. "Carvin' Marvin" Foster, whose distinctive tube-riding style continues to be widely emulated, has died.

Foster, 49, of Haleiwa, hanged himself, according to the Medical Examiner's Office. Foster's brother identified him Tuesday after he was found in Pupukea.

Described as one of the top surfers in the 1970s and '80s, Foster later fell on hard times, battling drugs and serving time in prison in 1993 for possession of prohibited weapons, a felony.

But his early years appeared bright.

Friends remember him as a fearless pioneer who paved the way for many Hawaii big-waver surfers such as Sunny Garcia.

"He was definitely one of the best of the young kids coming up to the '70s," recalls surf photographer Bernie Baker. "He was really at that age sort of the model of the young and very hot Hawaiian kid that we now are able to look at in terms of dozens and dozens today. It was just a great loss of a great Hawaiian spirit at a very young age."

Even as a youngster, Foster could surf on all sides of a wave and in any ocean condition, said Baker.

Many saw his natural talent when, as a teen, he and his brother, Kalani, charged 10- to 12-foot waves at Laniakea.

In 1984 he won an international surfing championship in Peru. The next year he was one of the surfers invited to compete in the first Eddie Aikau big-wave invitational at Sunset Beach.

Many recall how Foster was one of a few surfers in his era who could go left at Waimea Bay.

"He was highly regarded," said veteran contest director Randy Rarick.

Glen Moncata, a representative of Quiksilver, which sponsored Foster, said he has received phone calls from all over the world in the past couple of days from people sharing memories.

"He did touch a lot of people in the surfing world," he said. "He's just going to be missed by everybody."

Friend Brian Keaulana said Foster helped up-and-coming surfers with his knowledge of the sport and the ocean.

"He was an amazing waterman," said Keaulana. His skill ranked with that of Aikau and Keaulana's father, Richard "Buffalo" Keaulana, he added.

Foster brought a new flavor to surfing with his back-side barrel technique.

"Everybody emulated what Marvin would do in the water," he added. "He can get into the barrel in any which way."

Foster was proud of his culture and helped other local surfers in competitions to ensure that Hawaiians were well represented, Keaulana said.

"He had a good soul," said former surf contest promoter Reid Inouye. "He was born to do what he did in the water."

Surfer remembered as 'fearless pioneer' - Hawaii News -


  1. Marvin, he always had the aloha 24/7

  2. I am in Hawaii on holiday from the Uk. I have just seen his name up there with other great watermen on the Plaque at Pipeline. Marvin was one of my Heros. Ironically I'm staying at Pupakea where he died.
    I am truly gutted and am holding back tears as I tap this out.
    Go well Marvin.

  3. I am on Holiday on The North shore from the UK and have just seen Marvin's name on the memorial plaque with all the other great watermen at Pipeline.
    I am taping away with tears in my eyes
    Marvin was one of my heroes. I loved his Hawaiian style and Aloha. Ironically I'm staying at Pupakea where he died. I met Jack mc coy at a film show in the uk and I asked about Marvin. He said he had a few problems with drugs and had done a bit of time.
    I'm so sad it ended like this. Some surfers are brothers and Marvin was one of mine, even though our lives and situations could not be more different.
    Go well Marvin


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